Building the Foundation for the Internet of Things

by OMA | Monday, May 29, 2017

By Padmakumar Subramani, Principal Product Manager at Nokia.  Mr. Subramani has worked across multiple technology domains from medical equipment research to TDM Switch, Broadband Switch and Customer Experience & Analytics.  With over 21 years of experience in electronics and the communication industry, he has engineered, managed projects and created successful products. Mr. Subramani is currently serving as Chairman of the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) Device Management Working Group and is representing Nokia on the OMA Board of Directors. He has been actively involved in defining the OMA LightweightM2M (LwM2M) protocol and helps incorporate it in the appropriate Standards bodies for utilization by the Internet of Things (IoT). 

A strong foundation is necessary for good buildings. Likewise, large-scale technology deployments like the ones being anticipated as a part of the Internet of Things (IoT) must also be built on strong technological foundations. The Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) LightweightM2M (LwM2M) protocol is built on such strong foundations from IETF and from 3GPP.

Face-to-face interactions among operators and other vendors, together considering business needs, contribute to shaping the LwM2M standard. Further to this, OMA utilizes its extensive network of connections with other organizations such as the Eclipse Foundation and IPSO Alliance, as well as universities and developer communities to gain feedback, which is a necessary part of the process of creating a specification. This ecosystem further strengthens the foundation the specification is built upon.

With IoT, the primary focus is on the device. Managing it and providing a secure environment for enabling IoT becomes essential to achieving the business needs of industries such as automotive, medical and utilities, as well as the service providers deploying IoT. The other main driver for device technology is the volume of emerging IoT devices. It is essential to look at the ability for the industry to work together and scale. This is necessary for any industry, but especially one with billions of devices in place and which is expected to scale in double-digits in the coming years. For the industry to cater to such huge volumes of devices, a standard that is both predictable and robust, is needed. Today, OMA LwM2M is one of the most complete protocols with a rich feature set for device management of constrained devices.

But IoT is not a small planet to be controlled by one star, rather it is more like the Milky Way Galaxy with multiple stars inside it. OMA LwM2M is achieving a few of the fundamental star-map-connections to start with, and the IoT industry will drive the rest forward with other standards and trade bodies’ efforts. For example, OMA LwM2M has been integrated with oneM2M documents, which deal with the IoT service layer. Additionally, smart objects are defined by the IPSO Alliance and are registered back in OMA’s OMNA registration pages for easy access by developers. The Eclipse Foundation has created open source implementations of the LwM2M protocol. The network of industry associations is formed in order to enable multiple strengths coming together to achieve a common goal of security and interoperability in the Internet of Things. Additionally, part of the fundamental foundation of the industry is also handled at various regulatory and governmental levels. Of course it is essential to cater to the existing structures of industry-government-regulatory cooperation, with help from 3GPP, GSMA and other bodies.

Traditionally, OMA has been one of the cornerstones of today’s telecommunications industry, which has delivered our ever-connected way of life. Now OMA LwM2M, as part of the foundation of the Internet of Things, has started its path towards helping society with its journey towards the way we will live in the future.

See Padmakumar Subramani speak live on the IoT Ecosystem at IoT Tech Expo Europe 2017, 1-2 June, Estrel, Berlin.